Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hanging out of MOVING vehicles!

Since this is such a huge part of my day, I felt it necessary to blog about my transportation situation here. I´ll try to keep the words at a minimum but seriously, this stuff can get pretty funny.

I live anywhere from 20-40 minutes from work, by bus. The timing is relative to traffic. And so I do what any other Colombian would do: take the bus. Are you picturing it? Are you just imagining a lovely bus stop with an overhang to shelter you from the rain? Are you picturing a nice busdriver that waits until you are on the bus with both feet before slowly pulling away? Yeah, well, IF ONLY!!!!! Here in Bogotá the driver will sto p just long enough for you to grab ahold of the handle and put a foot on the step. After that, its up to you to hang on! And as for the overhang...
THIS is a bus stop in Bogota! Where? You might ask. Oh, anywhere along the side of that road that you might be able to catch a driver´s attention and where he may be able to have time to stop. And are you picturing nice big numbers at the top of the bus that you can see from a distance and that indicate your desired destination?
THIS is what you have to look for in the front left window of the bus as it approaches you at 60 MPH. It can be pretty tricky and if you have anything less than 20/20 vission, well, good luck to ya.
THIS is a typical bus that you would see throughout the various streets of Bogotá. The very first picture on the blog, the one of the red bus, is of a system they have here called the Transmilenio. The buses are nice but the routes are limited and don´t include any type of convenient way for me. So I use the little street busses.
THIS is what happens when lots and lots of little street buses make their way through roads that aren{t meant for anything weighing more than a large sedan. So the bus ride home isn´t exactly an ideal place for catching up with post-card writing or makeup applying.

And finally we come to the concept of firemarshal codes. HAH. Firemarshal! Yesterday, while trying to catch a bus home, I was inconveniently ignored by at least 8 buses that were headed to my neighborhood and that I flagged down in the usual way. As they passed, it was easy to see why they weren´t stopping for me. The buses are SO FULL during rush hour that there are literally people hanging out of the doors. Yes, HANGING! Its an incredible sight and I would capture it on film if I weren´t afraid of my camera being stolen.
I resorted to flagging down a taxi for 7x the cost of a bus. But, I didn´t have to hang outside of a moving vehicle.

To be completely honest, there is a great sense of accomplishment for me as I have succesfully gone to and from work alone now. The craziest thing of all is that I thoroughly enjoy my commute and bus situation. Its probably part of that initial culture know, that part that thinks EVERY SINGLE THING about the new culture is just peachy. Well, I´m still neck deep in that stage. Who knows, maybe I´ll get to stay in that state of mind. One simply must have a sense of humor about the conditions of the public transportation, laugh it off, and chalk it up to a life of adventure. Stay tuned...

QUOTE: Today´s quote comes from a distant relative of mine, seriously.
Mass transportation is doomed to failure in North America because a person's car is the only place where he can be alone and think.
Marshall McLuhan


Heather said...

Lovin' those updates, Zoe! I think I would be so annoyed by that whole bus thing. You are more than a woman!

Heather B.

CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

You did an excellent job of summing it up. It's a great blog idea - I'll have to use it :-) You mind?! Also - thanks for sharing the pics! Gives me a better idea of what you are experiencing!

Carla said...

Great update!! Sounds like fun stuff!! Love you! Miss you!